2020’s Biggest SEO Mistake And How To Fix It

Phil Hudson Business, Ecommerce, SEO

As I write this, the world is on lockdown. Corona Virus is rampant and people are locked in their homes. The last four out of five times I went to the grocery store I couldn’t even find eggs and one time I was yelled at for trying to buy a box of butter, two bags of cheddar cheese, and a gallon of milk!

The sign said “Dairy products are restricted to two EACH per customer, not two PER customer”, Kyle!

I digress.

The point is, despite having enough money to go and buy the things I want, I can’t go out and buy what I want for the first time in my life. The world is different. We might be moving toward a recession, there might be another depression for all we know. We don’t know what is going to happen: nothing has changed.

Nothing has changed: We still can’t predict the future.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t meant to be a downer post, this is meant to remind you that we have never been able to look into the future. This is especially true in the world of Internet Marketing. We are all beholden to some greater being. If you’re an SEO you have always had to pay attention to what Google is doing. Those of us who survived the armageddon and “death of SEO” that was the year 2012 (the Mayan’s might have had something right with their prediction) know that you can be screaming along seeing amazing results with search results and then BAM overnight you’re nowhere to be found.

What about Social Media? Yep. You too. Remember MySpace? What about Friendster? How about Google Buzz? Maybe you spent a ton of time working on your Google+ page? They’re all gone (Yeah, MySpace, nice try, but you’re dead. Stay down!).

Paid Advertising? Yep. There have been massive rifts in the world of paid advertising. The Old Breed (shout out to my Band of Brothers fans) might remember a polished gem of Internet Marketing known as Overture. That was a $2 Billion mistake Yahoo! made back at the turn of the century (we really are living in a different time) and it was the king of paid advertising. What about Facebook’s shifts in advertising? They change their algorithm just as frequently as Google does. Instagram? Snapchat? Yep, it’s all changing all the time.

So, yeah, you’ve never really known what the future holds and neither have I. That’s the good news.

Stop speculating and start working.

If you’ve paid any attention to the stock market over the last several weeks, you’ve seen crazy peeks and valleys as high and low as we saw in 2008 during the Great Recession. Why? Speculation. People assume they know what is going to happen. They speculate. They make up their minds. They try to guess. Too bad it doesn’t work out. Sure, there are some Titans of Wall Street who are doing amazing things and getting incredible returns for their clients, but you and I do not play in their world. We do not know the things they know. We have not put in our ten thousand hours like Malcolm Gladwell talks about in his best selling book Outliers. So why do we think we can do what these magicians can do?

What’s the point of this article: to remind you of a lesson I learned from the guru who taught me SEO a decade ago and which has made all of the difference in changing my life:

You win in business by doing what everyone else is unwilling to do. – Parker Garlitz

It’s that simple. Stop trying to guess what’s going to happen and focus on what you can control.

Locus of Control: A Lesson For Life

Back in 2012, I was introduced to the wonderful world of audiobooks. I dove in headfirst and bought some of my favorite titles: Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kyosaki, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, and The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. One of the many books that were recommended to me early on by Audible’s algorithm (yes, even they have an algorithm) was called The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman.

That book changed my life because it taught me a very clear principle that has made all of the difference: Locus of Control. You can read all about it on his website, but the basic idea is that there are things you can control, and things you cannot. Locus of Control shows you what you can actually affect and what you cannot. Instead of worrying about things you can’t control (the economy, Covid-19, how Google’s algorithm will change, etc.) you can focus on things that you can control (the quality of your customer service, the quality of your website, the quality of your content on your website, etc.) and that will allow you to take control of your future online.

The Number One SEO Mistake You’re Making in 2020

So you’ve pushed through my rambling and now you want the answer: your content. That’s right, there’s a nasty trend out there of “clean” and “simple” websites that are “easy to use” and “aesthetically pleasing”. Well guess what: focusing on all of that is costing you a fortune. Stop feeding your ego. Yep, I said it. Focusing on how beautiful and clean and simple your website is is a vanity play. Want to know why? Because your PERSUADABLE BUYERS don’t care!

What’s a Persuadable Buyer? We’ll address that in another blog shortly and link to it here, but the skinny is that the vast majority of people visiting your website (think 95% if you’re a national brand and 85-90% for local businesses) will never buy from you no matter what you do. We call these guys window shoppers, tire kickers, lookie-loos, patient zero for Corona Virus, whatever you want to call them. They’re just traffic statistics but they have ONE BIG PROBLEM: they’ve got big mouths. These are your “vocal majority” as I often call them. They will tell you all about how “busy” your website is (shoot me in the face please) and they will complain about your font choice or the pictures you chose to use on your landing page. Off with their heads! I don’t care what they have to say and neither should you.

You’ve been listening to them and you’ve been gutting the content from your website. For shame! Seriously, these guys are costing you a fortune so stop listening to them. Your Persuadable buyers want your content! They want to read everything you have to say! They want answers to their questions! They want you to write stuff and put it on your website!

Yeah, I know you hired an award-winning design firm (or your neighbor’s kid) to build your website. I get it. I don’t care. They’re wrong and I can prove it. Time and time again we have shown that a properly optimized website (keyword research, optimized metadata, headings, keyword-rich content and lots of it, etc.) drive increases in rankings and traffic that converts. Why? Because that’s how the Internet works!

Here’s a screenshot of traffic for a leading women’s boutique as we implemented proper On Page SEO for every page including their product pages:

Ecommerce SEO growth after adding keyword-rich content to every page of a website

5,467 total keywords ranked in Google at the start of our SEO work in May 2016. 11,106 total keywords by December 2016 with over 33,000 at the time of this posting.

Here’s what that means in terms of sales volume:

Ecommerce sales growth due to proper On Page SEO.

A screenshot from July 2017, thirteen months after the start of our SEO agreement. Our client, a women’s boutique clothing company, bumped sales from $9 million to $14.2 million.

Those are real numbers and I have plenty more data to look at, but I’ll cover that in another post.

Side Note: If you didn’t know that, you should hop back into our series on SEO 101. It will help clear all of this up but bring a drink, you’re going in for a deep dive.

How Do I Repent of My SEO Sins?

Start by adding a minimum of 300 quality unique words to each page of your website. Seriously, that’s the bare minimum, you’d be better off with a thousand or even five thousand.

Let’s be realistic, you can find an elegant way to fit 300 words of keyword-rich content into your website. If you’re an ecommerce site that means 300 words for every key page and every category or subcategory you’ve got and at least 150 words per product page. Just having the words will help tremendously with the overall quality of your website, but using proper On Page SEO strategy will really push your results.

Pro Tip: We like accordions as you can see on the home page of our website RookSEO.com.

Also, when your developer complains about how “busy” or “crammed” the page feels, tell him to put his award-winning skills to work and make it look good. That’s his job. Your job is to earn more money for your business and right now the best way for you to do that is tightening up the assets you already have. If you have a website, right now you should put your energy into cleaning that up as much as possible. You already own it. Let it work for you instead of against you.

If you don’t have a website, get on it. There are plenty of options out there that will do the job. Not sure what to do or how much to invest in a website? Call us and we can walk you through the process even if you don’t use us to build it.

The best use of your time right now is to invest in your business and do the work you’ve been neglecting. If the Great Recession taught us anything, it’s that those who hunker down and do the hard work are those who come out ahead in the new world. There are so many resources out there to help you learn more about Internet Marketing, On Page SEO, and every other aspect of Internet Marketing. We can help too. If you need a guiding hand, we love helping small businesses navigate the murky world of Internet Marketing. Just contact us today.

For everyone else, you already know what you should be doing. Get to it and do the hard work. We’ll all come out of this, in the end, better off than when we started.